Beyond Heroism

January 23, 2021-

Hank Aaron’s life, which transitioned to spirit yesterday, was a clear road map to both honouring God-given talent and transcending even the worst adversity. If Henry Louis Aaron, of Mobile, Alabama, thought of himself as a hero, it was never shown. He did regard himself as a craftsman, a practitioner, whose arts were hitting, catching and throwing a baseball. To that end, he applied himself, practiced rigourously and excelled. From 1974, until 2007, he was the record holder for most home runs hit by a major league baseball player. When his record was exceeded by Barry Bonds, Hank appeared on the Jumbotron and congratulated his successor, also expressing the hope that Bonds’ achievement would inspire others to do even better.

Hank Aaron’s enduring appeal will be that he lived as a man of faith- and thus, hate, even in reaction to that expressed by others, was foreign to his nature. Many heroic figures have stumbled on that note, with the attitude that fairness should preclude people from disdaining them. Hank recognized the myriad of causes for personal hatred: Jealousy, fear and false sense of superiority being the greatest among them.

I, rather unathletic, nonetheless feel indebted to Hank Aaron for showing the way through the worst of sloughs and through the finest of achievements. In many ways, both circumstances test one’s mettle. Henry Louis Aaron passed both tests.

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